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Copyright law to be relaxed

Researchers in Germany will soon be allowed to use and digitally reproduce 15 per cent of any copyrighted scientific work without needing permission.

Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, passed a reform on 30 June that aims to simplify the rules on the online use of copyrighted works at universities. It was introduced by Heiko Maas, the federal justice minister, as a compromise between creating security for users of scientific material and protecting the interests of authors and publishers.

Under the new law, universities will be able to digitally reproduce up to 15 per cent of any work as long as they pay a flat-rate fee to a ”collecting society’, which will then redistribute the funds to the rights holders. The reform will come into force on 1 March 2018.

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